Bert Sperling, who annually compiles the nation’s most-read listing of the best places to live, this year places Asheville at number seven. Gainesville, Fla., made this year’s top spot — in the same year that the town’s University of Florida Gators won a national NCAA football championship and repeated as NCAA basketball champs. One can now expect the central Florida town’s smug meter to be pushed all the way into the red.
The rating guide “Cities Ranked & Rated,” available in book form and at Sperling’s Web site, lists Durham as the only other North Carolina city in its top 50. In the nice-surprise department, nearby Spartanburg, S.C., which is in the midst of an urban renewal similar to that which transformed Asheville to its current status, has been listed 48th.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer